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CPSC Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle Agency Update May 17, 2017
Author: Ann Marie Buerkle
Good afternoon. As many of you know, on February 9, 2017, I became Acting Chairman of The Consumer Product Safety Commission. It is an honor to lead the CPSC under this
new Administration.

Although there has been a change in leadership, there remain three Democrats and two Republicans on the Commission, until at least October. Despite being a minority Chairman, I hope to influence agency operations and policy by bringing the same approach to running the agency that I have used to guide me since becoming a Commissioner. My priorities include collaborating with all stakeholders, taking a
balanced and reasonable approach to regulation when data justifies rulemaking, and utilizing education and information campaigns for consumers as well as the regulated community.

I want to share a few brief updates on recent CPSC activity:

Magnets
On March 1, 2017, the Commission held a decisional meeting on the revocation of the magnet standard from the Code of Federal Regulations. The removal of the rule was ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals. While I was pleased with the unanimous vote to remove the rule, I did not support Commissioner Kaye’s motion to direct staff to prepare a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) to replace the standard we removed. His motion passed by a 3-2 vote. This is not the right time to move ahead with a replacement. For more of my concerns on this matter, here is my full statement.

Portable Generators
The Commission heard oral presentations on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Portable Generators on March 8, 2017. Twelve panelists took the time and effort to share their insights and expertise with the Commission. I am grateful for their willingness to provide input on this very important topic. If you are interested in watching the public hearing, you can do so here.

Table Saws
CPSC staff briefed the Commission on the Table Saws NPR on March 23, 2017. The briefing, which can be viewed here, provided an opportunity for robust discussion between the Commission and staff on this complex and technical issue. On Thursday, April 27, 2017, a decisional hearing was held and the NPR, as amended, at the hearing,  was approved by a vote of 3-2. I voted against the NPR because in my opinion, the
proposal is defective and does not merit approval at this point. The major shortcomings relate to (1) lack of data and failure to obtain a national estimate regarding what type of table saw caused the injuries; and (2) the lack of assurance that manufacturers will be able to license the technology needed to meet the standard on reasonable terms. Here is my full statement that expresses additional thoughts on this NPR.

Engagement
My tenure as Acting Chairman has already seen a great deal of engagement with various stakeholders. Since taking over, I have had the opportunity to speak at a variety of events and to many organizations, including ICPHSO, OPEI, the Alliance for Consumer Education, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the SGS/CalletLaw Product Safety Seminar, ROHVA/SVIA/MIC, AHAM, NAM, the Toy Association, the American Bar Association on the topic of the Internet of Things, and AHFA. As the new Acting Chairman, I have had numerous in-office meetings with different companies, organizations, and consumer groups. Please know that my office is always open to meeting with you. One of my challenges is to break down some of the old stereotypes and to combine the efforts of so many who want safe consumer products. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of any assistance to you.

Our Small Business Ombudsman office has started a monthly webinar series aimed at educating industry. Last month they provided an overview of updates to the toy standard (ASTM F963-16) and this month they covered stuffed toys labeling, testing, and certification. I encourage you to watch these webinars if they relate to your industry as they are a great resource. If there are topics that you are interested in having a webinar on, please let me know.

In the coming weeks the agency will be looking for stakeholder feedback on test burden reduction, recall effectiveness, and the FY 2018 & FY 2019 priorities. I will keep you informed regarding those opportunities once the dates are certain. I hope that you will engage with us on these important matters. Additionally, as the agency looks to comply with EO13781 (Reorganization EO), I welcome any ideas you might want to share on how the CPSC can operate more effectively and efficiently.

Finally, I want to update you on two changes of senior career officials. Rob Kaye, no relation to the former Chairman, has been hired as the new Director of the Office of Compliance and Field Operations. Rob joins the CPSC from the Department of Education, but has spent most of his career at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Jim Joholske has been promoted as the Director of the Office of Import Surveillance. Jim has
been the deputy head of the Import Surveillance Office since it was first created as a division of Compliance a decade ago.

I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your continued engagement with our agency. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any service to you.

Sincerely,
Ann Marie
Ann Marie Buerkle
Acting Chairman
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
The Product Safety & Recall Directory
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